Opponents to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, argue that it will kill jobs. They reason that forcing employers to provide insurance for their employees will raise their costs, and that they’ll cover those costs by cutting wages and other compensation, and ultimately by shedding jobs. But is that true?
The nonpartisan Urban Institute decided to find out. It did so by looking at what has happened in Massachusetts, whose health reform law, passed in 2006, is broadly similar to the Affordable Care Act. It found no evidence whatever that health care reform, and mandated coverage, killed jobs:
Massachusetts has achieved its goal of near-universal health insurance coverage under its 2006 health reform initiative, with no indication of negative job consequences relative to other states as a result of health reform. The recent recession, which began in December 2007, and the financial crisis that followed, have clearly taken a toll on economic growth in Massachusetts and the rest of the nation. However, employment trends in Massachusetts immediately after health reform was implemented (2006 to 2008) and over the period of the recession (2008 to 2010) closely mirrored those of the four states that had similar employment patterns to Massachusetts prior to health reform. Further, Massachusetts, which started out with a higher share of the working-age population employed than the rest of the nation prior to health reform, continued to have a much higher employment share in 2010. Thus, there is no evidence of a more pronounced decline in overall employment in Massachusetts than in the rest of the nation over the 2006–2010 period, nor is there evidence of a more pronounced decline among the small firms, industries, and workers, where such declines would be predicted if health reform had dampened economic growth in the state. Although there are differences in the details between the Massachusetts health reform and the ACA, there are broad similarities that indicate that the impacts could be roughly similar under the ACA. The evidence from Massachusetts would suggest that national health reform does not imply job loss and stymied economic growth.
The full text of the report can be found HERE